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Travel bucket list idea:

Last updated: 27 May, 2023
Expert travel writer: Dana Facaros

As prime spots where Van Gogh lived and painted, the towns of Arles and Saint-Remy both regret not hanging on to any of Van Gogh’s original works while he was alive. To make up for it, each has set up a self-guided Van Gogh Walk, pinpointing the scenic spots where the master planted his easel.

When doing the walk in Arles, spare some time to see the Espace Van Gogh in the former hospital on Place du Dr Félix Rey, where he had his ear stitched up and was later locked up. Inside you’ll find exhibits chronicling his stay. The hospital’s courtyard has been remodelled to resemble as closely as possible his famous painting ‘Le Jardin de l’Hôtel de Dieu’. You’ll also pass by the Reattu Fine Arts Museum, which houses many of Van Gogh letters, and the famous Café Terrace on the Place du Forum.

Don't miss

After your walk, visit the Van Gogh Foundation on Place Honore Clair, which displays art (paintings, sculpture, photography, texts) in homage to Van Gogh.

Logistics

Price: Free
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 13+
When: All year around
Duration: 1-2 hours

Getting there & doing it

For the self-guided walk, pick up information and a map at the Arles tourist office on Boulevard des Lices before setting out – or download the map from the website before you go. The walk traces a path across the city, with information boards that include photos of his paintings along the way. The tourist office also produces an excellent little booklet that you can download with information on all of the stops and any associated paintings.

There are several local tour operators that will take you on the walk, either specifically or as part of a broader tour (see our recommendations below of who to go with). The major plus is a knowledgeable guide, who’ll have information, insights and anecdotes on Van Gogh you won’t get if you go it alone.

When to do it

Obviously, you can follow the walk at any time of year, but it’s most picture-perfect when Van Gogh’s favourite flowers are in bloom: go in April and May for the irises, or in late June to early August for the sunflowers.

The Foundation is open all year round, seven days a week, though it closes on Mondays in winter months. The Espace van Gogh is also open all year round, seven days a week, though it closes on Sundays.

Who to go with: organised tours

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Our selection of the best Viator tours of this attraction or activity

In the footsteps of Van Gogh in Provence from Avignon

Avignon

In the footsteps of Van Gogh in Provence from Avignon
Follow in the footsteps of a Post-Impressionist master on this 6-hour Van Gogh in Provence small-group day trip. Visit UNESCO-listed Arles and discover many of the sites which stirred Van Gogh’s creativity. In St-Rémy de Provence, you will visit Saint-Paul de Mausole, the mental hospital where the painter stayed for a year. This is a tour for Van Gogh's lovers.

Price: €95

Min age: 4

Rating 4.22 / 5 [58 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Van Gogh & Carrières de Lumières Half-Day Tour from Avignon

Avignon

Van Gogh & Carrières de Lumières Half-Day Tour from Avignon
Take a half-day tour from Avignon to experience with your own senses the actual atmosphere which made Vincent van Gogh spend his latest years in Provence. Your guide will walk along with you in Arles while showing you around. Then you will be given plenty of time to fully enjoy the most spectacular light show at Carrières de Lumières. Do not miss the beautiful vista to the Alpilles mountains on the way to the sanatorium.

Price: €90

Min age: 0

Rating 4.66 / 5 [24 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Half-Day Van Gogh Tour of Provence from Avignon

Avignon

Half-Day Van Gogh Tour of Provence from Avignon
Enjoy a small-group tour from Avignon to follow the steps of Van Gogh with an experienced guide. During this half day tour we will guide you through the wonderful marriage of art and history. Following Van Gogh steps, we will visit Arles and Saint Rémy de Provence where he lived and painted. Explore the incredible perched village Les Baux de Provence one of the most visited destination in France.

Price: €75

Min age: 0

Rating 4.8 / 5 [20 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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History and Van Gogh in Provence from AIX-EN-PROVENCE

Aix-en-Provence

History and Van Gogh in Provence from AIX-EN-PROVENCE
Visit the main historic cities and places Provence is famous for. Small group tour. Kind and professional driver/guides. Fully air/conditioned vehicles.

Price: €135

Min age: 1

Rating 4.38 / 5 [18 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Destination guides

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Destination guides including or relevant to this experience

Arles

Provence, France

front view of facade at sunset

Fascinating Roman, and medieval monuments and memories of Van Gogh, plus a winsome shabby-chic charm.

Avignon

Provence, France

Exterior photo of the Palace of the Popes lit up at night

A lively medieval town bursting with art and creativity, and centrally located for sightseeing in Provence. Host of the superb Avignon Festival.

Provence

Provence, France

Field of bright purple lavender in front of an old church

Gorgeous landscapes peppered with beautiful villages, sunflowers and lavender, art-filled towns, lively cultural festivals and exquisite food and wine. Provence is everything you imagined it would be.